Following the accomplishment of the first successful flight, aeronautical experimenters worked to develop the flying machine into a practical means of transportation. Little by little they improved its controllability and extended its range. In 1909 the Wright Brothers delivered the first United States military airplane, designed to meet Signal Corps specifications. In the Fall of the same year, Wilbur Wright made two round trip flights from Governors Island in New York Harbor, one to the Statue of Liberty, and the second to Grant's Tomb. In May of the following year Glenn L. Curtiss received a prize of $10,000 offered by Joseph Pulitzer, publisher of the New York World, for a flight from Albany to New York City by using it as starting or terminating point of historical flights. And, on the eve of World War I, the Island served as the original training ground for America's future military air squadrons. To honor these events, the Early Birds Governors Island Aviation Monument was dedicated on December 17, 1954. For those who may be interested in how this monument came into being, this commemorative booklet has been prepared.

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